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Ariosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture$
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Jane E. Everson, Andrew Hiscock, and Stefano Jossa

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266502

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266502.001.0001

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The Furioso in Translation

The Furioso in Translation

‘Lascivious’ Ariosto in Two Modern English Versions

(p.246) 13 The Furioso in Translation
Ariosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture

Martin McLaughlin

British Academy

The year 1974, the 500th anniversary of Ariosto’s birth, inaugurated an unprecedented upsurge of interest in the Orlando Furioso both in Italy and in English-speaking countries. In the UK Peter Brand published the first post-war English monograph on the poet. The same year also saw the publication of Guido Waldman’s prose translation of the poem for Oxford University Press, while Barbara Reynolds’ two-volume verse translation for Penguin appeared in 1973 and 1977. This chapter asks what sort of Furioso do British readers encounter in these two twentieth-century translations? There is as yet no substantial comparison of these two versions, so this essay attempts to fill that gap by sampling the renderings of some problematic erotic episodes from Ariosto’s epic. What emerges is a range of translation errors, omissions and euphemisms but also some intelligent, felicitous solutions that combine intertextual allusions to British culture, the British imaginary and its literary traditions.

Keywords:   comparison, translation errors, intertextual allusions, British culture, British imaginary, British literary traditions

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